DETROIT – A former public schools official, accused of conspiring with a Florida man in the 1990s to raise money and recruit Muslim extremists to fight in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and Somalia, was ordered held to face federal terrorism charges.
A criminal complaint issued in December and unsealed Monday in Miami charges Kifah Wael Jayyousi (search), 43, formerly of Detroit, and Kassem Daher (search), of Broward County, Florida, with conspiring to provide material support and resources for terrorism, and with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people or damage property in a foreign country.
Jayyousi, a Jordanian national who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, appealed the order that he be held, and a hearing was set for Thursday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Jayyousi's lawyer, William Swor, told the court that the charges are bogus and that Jayyousi should be freed. He said Jayyousi was on sabbatical as a civil engineer and adjunct engineering professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Authorities said Jayyousi, a former Detroit Public Schools (search) assistant superintendent, was arrested Sunday at Detroit Metro Airport after arriving from Amsterdam. U.S. Customs agents detained him after a routine computer check showed he was wanted on a federal warrant out of Miami.
Prosecutors have requested that he be sent to Miami.
Conspiring to provide material support and resources for terrorism carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The other charge carries a maximum penalty of 35 years to life in prison.
Daher is a fugitive living in Lebanon, the Detroit Free Press reported.